Third Quarter Books (2021)

Looking back at my summer of books, I can’t say for sure if it was typical or not, in terms of sheer numbers. But I will say that I read loads of amazing books. No duds? Well, let’s take a look.

A few breathtaking non-fiction, a sweet literary fiction that I stayed up late reading, an essay collection that broke and rebuilt my heart, and surprising no one (again), a whack load of science fiction to round it out.

I’ve been starting to think about my reading habits along the lines of “but what would I recommend?!”. It has helped me talk about these books more eloquently. I cannot write reviews, nor do I want to. But I can at least try to tell you why I loved a book. And why you might love it too.

At 22 books read over the past three months, I don’t think I can cover them all off here. But let’s do a few of the top titles.

I’ve been hearing amazing things about Becky Chambers’ Wayfarer Series for ages, and I devoured it whole. Best science fiction I have read in ages. Fully realized worlds, clever alien life, and characters with the biggest hearts.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer should be on your TBR even if you’re not into plants or climate science or whatever you think this book is about. And if you can get it on audio all the better. It will open up your eyes and heart to the world around you. It was a gift to read.

I read a lot of books about death and disease this quarter. I mean, I purposely chose and finished books titled The Plague and The Next Pandemic. Perhaps others might find this shocking, considering the pandemic we are literally dying from right now. But there is nothing quite like the prospect of an untimely end to laser focus the stuff you like. The Sixth Extinction was all of my archaeology, anthropology, ecology, earth sciences, climate science dreams come true.

And then sometimes you need a palate cleanser. Enter The Switch by Beth O’Leary. Talk about endearing. You’ve got a burnt out overachiever living in the Big City who switches spots with her literal sweetest Grandma, who is bored with her small town life. I stayed up late (far too late) to finish this one. It was cute, but not sickly sweet, and made me want to meet all of my neighbours. Even the annoying ones.

There was only one dud. That’s pretty good odds. See you next quarter.

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